Friday, October 25, 2013

A Child's First Visit to the Dentist

Getting Ready
A child's first visit to the dentist should be at a much earlier age than most parents think -- and for a different reason.  The first dental visit should occur in infancy, as teeth are beginning to erupt.  During this visit, we will let you know how to care for your child's teeth and what preventative measures you should be taking for your infant at this early stage.  Many dental problems can be intercepted when we have the opportunity to examine your child and visit with you in the early developmental stages.

The first cleaning for your child should be done at about 2 to 2.5 years of age, depending on the child's behavior.  Importantly, this should not be the first time the child visits our office.  Before this visit, we would like the child to come in with a parent who is getting a routine preventative cleaning and check-up.  In this visit with a parent, the child can learn that the dentist office is not a scary place and that the people there are very friendly.  This will allow your child to feel much more comfortable when the time comes for them to have an appointment.  Usually, children introduced to dentistry in this manner are very excited about having their own dental appointments.

It is important for parents to always talk positively about going to the dental appointment as well as after the appointment has occurred.  Children are quick learners.  They may not know what some of the words mean, but they can understand how you feel about it.  You should try not to use any words around them that might have an unpleasant connotation: toothache, drill, pull, hurt, pain, unhappy, etc.  Always talk about how happy you are to go to the dentist and what a great experience it was, so that your child is not afraid of being in the office.  It may even be helpful to mention ways that visiting the dentist has been helpful to you.

The Visit
The first time the child has a dental procedure performed, at the age of 2 to 2.5 years, it will usually be very simple, quick, and entirely painless.  Of course, we assume you have followed all the preventative suggestions we have given you: fluoride vitamins, if appropriate, brushing the child's teeth, nothing in a night bottle but water, and so forth.

First, we will spend a little bit of time with the child in a show-and-tell mode.  We will show the childs the various instruments: polishers, mirrors, the water gun (air/water syringe), and so on.  The dental hygienist will also begin to instruct the child in proper brushing techniques.  At this young age, children do not manipulate dental floss and a brush properly.  This is a project for the parent.  Since children admire and try to imitate their parents, your good example of brushing and flossing each day will help tremendously in this area.  Children will see that it is something you do, which they will then try to imitate.

Also during this visit, the dentist will "count" the child's teeth, while looking for decay or other problems.  Then the dental hygienist will "tickle" (clean and polish) the teeth.  Stains and plaque that might have accumulated will be easily removed.  It is very unusual for a child to have major periodontal problems.

If the child is prepared correctly, the first treatment visit at the dentist will be anticipated with no anxiety, proceed smoothly, and make the child excited about coming again.  What you do at home in preparation for this visit is most important to its success.  Good Luck!

If you have questions about your child's first visit to the dentist, please feel free to ask us at (512)250-5012.  -Omni Dental Group. 


  1. What a great picture. I remember when we first took our first born to the dentist. It was to intimidating and we were so afraid that she would just flip out and not be able to handle it. The dentist did an amazing job though. There was not one single tear and surprisingly lots and lots of giggles and smiles.

    Joanna @ Westheimer Dentist

  2. That picture is precious, the baby's smile is amazing, she will grow up into a beautiful child. The dentist visits especially the first few can be so difficult to be apart of but once they have done it once they get so brave and really make the effort to brush the teeth regularly and without any hiccups. Thank you again.

    Elfrieda Sevigny @ Simmonds Dental Center

  3. That's really a fantastic way to help the kids feel comfortable when going in for a cleaning or a checkup. Actually, I really appreciate when the dentist will show my son the equipment and engage him like this article advises--kids are so interested in all the equipment the dentist uses, and it's so much fun to see them get engaged in their appointment!

    Quinn Kimbrough @ Top Temecula Dentist

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